Be the Music Business – A Manifesto

The music business is changing, rapidly. And we think it’s for changing for the best. Time was when “the business” was fundamentally an enormous administrative apparatus placed between the musician and the fan. The logic of its position was that it marginalized fans and musicians as much as possible, in a never-ending effort to siphon the money away in order to pay executives and shareholders. Who could blame them really? Recorded music creation, promotion and distribution was a capital-intensive business. For the capital to be available, it needed to be amply rewarded.

As it struggles through its death throes, the business part of the music business is stuck in the old paradigm. It wonders how to “make streaming work for everyone”. It seeks to lock artists away into “360 deals”. It eliminates funding for diverse (but marginal) acts, focussing only the super-artist. And we’re supposed to believe, along with them, that the music business is dying.

But it’s not dying. It’s on the verge of thriving. Technological developments have converged so that the creation, promotion and distribution of recorded music need no longer be a capital-intensive operation. This means that the bullies of the music business, those with the money, are being squeezed out of the scene. The music business is about to become what it should be: “fans, bands and the people who help them.”

We believe that the business of music is at the forefront of demonstrating a new model of economic organization. The core product – typically a recorded song of a few minutes length, with or without accompanying video – is sufficiently discrete and atomic that it can be produced and marketed without the need for capital-intensive organizations to control the process. The entire organization of these processes can now be left in the hands of the “fans, bands and the people who help them.”

At Decibol, our mission is to empower this fundamental shift in the music business. We are offering a web-centric dashboard for the conduct of your business career in music, no matter what part of the business you may be in. We are beginning with a simple framework, and will be adding functionality as we see how you are using the site, as we hear your feedback, and as we consult with participants with deep experience in the business.

In the final analysis, to complete the shift to a business that is built by fans, bands and those who help them, a community must arise and self-organize. A talented musician who comes to Decibol should be able to connect with people who are able to provide everything that a music label once provided to its acts. Here, a thriving community should be able to provide funding, promotion, ancillary services (eg. graphic design), engineering talent, contacts (eg. other musicians), distribution, agency services, gigs and more.

Our mission is to provide the software tools to allow this community to come together and to work together. We plan to enable a new mode of economic organization, a new way to do the music business. You can help us. You can join. You can stick around. You can continually experiment with this way of doing business even if it seems to take a while to come together.

You can Be the Music Business.

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